According to University of Chicago researchers, violence in certain West and South side neighborhoods is connected to high blood pressure and obesity. Compared to those living in less violent neighborhoods, residents who are exposed to violent crimes have “25% higher odds of having hypertension and 53 percent higher odds of being obese.” This is especially true for individuals who are female, black, and 45 years of age or older. Racial segregation between black and white people in cities like Chicago intensify health disparities. According to data “black Chicagoans…see higher rates of hypertension, obesity and death from heart disease than their white and Latino peers, which mirrors national trends.”
Lead author of the study Dr. Elizabeth Tung stated that violence impacts a person’s willingness to perform activities outside like working out or getting gas; they have to alter their schedule in attempt to avoid violence. Also, they feel uncomfortable making evening doctor appointments and want to get home before dark. Some solutions like offering appointments during the day and providing transportation to those living in violent environments can make a difference. Providing resources in neighborhoods that experience violence can also help combat health risks residents face. In the North Lawndale community, the Lawndale Christian Health Center provides a gym for clients to exercise for free and classes for activities like self-defense and strength training.
The full Chicago Tribune article by Ese Olumhense can be read here.